Debbie – The Garden Orb Weaving Spider

Debbie the Garden Orb Weaving Spider – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I’d like to introduce you to Debbie. She is a large, Garden Orb Weaving Spider that lives on my balcony in Australia. I rarely get a good look at her because she is a night spider that sits in the middle of her giant web from sunset until very early morning. She is hoping to catch some large insects for dinner such as flies, beetles and occasionally a cicada. Some nights if she hasn’t had much luck catching bugs, she stays out a little longer in the morning, which is when I got to take this great photo of her. I even fed her a large blow fly that had flown into my kitchen after I stunned it with the fly squatter. For a hefty spider, she certainly ran faster than I expected towards the fly I stuck to her web. She immediately wrapped it up, took it to the center of the web and ate him – she must have been hungry! During the day when she is not in the web, she is contently tucked away into her sleeping hole in one of the bricks of my balcony. She will sadly only live a year, as they generally die out in late Autumn to early Winter. Before that happens, she will try to find a mate and lay eggs in late Summer to Autumn encased in a silky cocoon. Unlike some other spiders, males and females are similar in size. The babies will hatch not long after and catch the breeze with their little silk balloon to relocate to a new home. Hopefully there will be many more little Debbies to share my home with and admire.

Garden Orb Weaver

Garden Orb Weaver - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Garden Orb Weaver – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I thought it about time for another spider, also a very common species on the east coast of Australia. Don’t worry, just like the St Andrews Cross spider, this is also one of Australia’s friendly spiders which wont kill you. The garden orb weaver is a beautiful arachnid, easily identified by its signature plump belly. It spends the early evening making a magnificent web and spends the night sitting in the center, waiting for an unsuspecting winged insect to fly into this brilliantly formed trap. During the day, the spider will leave the web and tuck itself away in a rest spot, often a leaf very close to edge of the web. If you are walking around and get a face full of spider web, its usually from these guys, thankfully its most often without the spider on your face too!